Wereldhave to focus on shopping centres in Western Europe

Wereldhave to focus on shopping centres in Western Europe

Wereldhave N.V. will fully concentrate on shopping centres in Western Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and the United Kingdom) and offices in Paris and Madrid. This strategic choice implies that Wereldhave will sell its property investments in the United States. The proceeds will be used for purchases and (re-)development projects in Western Europe.

The shopping centre exposure of the total property portfolio will be increased to 60-80%. The office investments will amount to 15-30% of the portfolio and the development portfolio will move within a range of 5-10% of the property portfolio. By expanding the exposure in shopping centres the occupancy rate will become more stable and the investment result more steady.

Hans Pars (chairman of the board of management) explains:

“We will fully focus on shopping centres which are dominant within their catchment area in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and the United Kingdom and on offices in Paris and Madrid. Our American property investments will be sold and we will continue to sell non-strategic assets in Europe. We aim to divest well over EUR 1,1 billion during the next two to three years. Some sales are already in progress for the 1st quarter of 2012. We believe that next to our development pipeline, during the coming years attractive opportunities will arise to reinvest the proceeds from sales. The strategy will lead to a more focused Wereldhave with an improved risk profile.”

Exit from the United States
Wereldhave is active in the United States since 1978 and is at present the only large European property investment company which is active in both Europe and the United States. The American portfolio amounts to ca. EURO 800 million and consists primarily of office buildings in the regions of Washington DC, Texas and San Diego and apartments in Texas. Measured to American standards and given the spread of activities over three regions, Wereldhave lacks scale in the United States. Moreover, institutional investors attach importance to making their own real estate asset allocation.

The proceeds from the divestment of US properties will be used for purchases and (re-)development projects in Western Europe. Wereldhave believes that next to its development pipeline, attractive opportunities will arise to re-invest the sales proceeds in the six European countries in which it is active. As standing investments will be sold and suitable reinvestment opportunities may not always be available directly, Wereldhave foresees fluctuations in the direct result during the transitional phase. Wereldhave aims to maintain the dividend in 2012 and 2013 at the 2010 and 2011 level.

SOURCE: Wereldhave

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